Thursday, December 20, 2007

Things We've Learned This Week

1.) Eight hours straight of shopping with Mommy is too long. 2.) It is fun to run around Mommy's work being loud. 3.) Parchment paper makes excellent treasure maps. 4.) Peppermint meringue frosting is yummy but requires lots of eggs. 5.) Grampy is a hero for bringing emergency egg rations to his baker boys. 6.) Sledding is fun, but a whole lot MORE fun with hot chocolate, marshmallows and friends. 7.) Red blankets make the best super hero capes. 8.) It's hard to take pictures of a lit Christmas tree.

Our best shot of Colin's personal tree. You can ALMOST see his grin in the background.

Liam was so good while shopping that he got the Underdog movie as a treat.
Colin then morphed into Underdog for the entire day.

Liam wasn't keen on sledding but did roll around a lot and dig with his shovel.

Colin and Bradley had fun being co-pilots on the new rocket sleds.

Ana provided both a smile and some welcome pink to the landscape!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

All I Want For Christmas...

Well, that's an easy one, for the little ones in our family. As you can see, Eamon just wants his two front teeth! And because he's always such a perfect little soul, they both popped through yesterday just in time for Christmas!
Colin wants the infamous frog game. This was not an easy find since Amazon suddenly listed it as one of the top toys of 2007 and they were nowhere to be found. I got burned pretty badly, but bought it on Ebay nonetheless to make sure he had it. Yes, I am THAT mother. Though I draw the line at beating up other parents in stores like they used to do over Cabbage Patch dolls and Carebears when I was young. I just get aggressive with my online bidding. (And no, Mom, I will never forget that you forged my Friendship Bear because you couldn't find the real thing that year back in the 80s.) :)

I (heart) wrapping paper.

Liam wants his darn flying bat like Colin's that drew blood on me and which Colin has already broken. But, hey, it's worth it to make him happy and I found the last one at ToysRUs and it didn't require any standing in lines, physical violence, or (thankfully) breaking the bank.

Beyond the material things, the boys just want to hang out and be "festive". We attended yet another party yesterday, our friend Erika's annual cookie decorating party that has fast become a family favorite. The boys had a ball, were the last to leave, and truly enjoyed every moment. They ate the last of their sticky, gooey, messy, wondrous cookies today and are already asking to go back!

Icing the cookies is fun, but eating them is the best!

We also had a marathon gingerbread house-decorating contest today. Liam wins, I think, for breaking the roof before I'd even finished making the icing! But it all turned out fine and Hansel and Gretel would be proud of the ridiculous amounts of candy that my big boys were able to squeeze onto this little abode. Not to mention the pounds they ate as they were decorating it.

It's more of a "Candy House with Optional Gingerbread"

Now, what do *I* want for Christmas? I want someone to come in and take out every last grain of Moon Sand and gold glitter from the nooks and crannies of my house. I want to finish an entire cup of coffee before it gets cold, an entire glass of wine (and a movie!) before I fall asleep. Moreover, I'd like to have ONE day where I don't NEED a glass of wine after putting the boys to bed! I'd like to see the bottom of the laundry pile (just once!), hear "Yes, Mommy!" every once in a while, and have ONE WHOLE BIG LONG DAY where no one whines, fights, pinches, pushes, complains or needs to be asked: "Did you wash your hands?? Let me smell them." I think I've been FAIRLY good this year, so if any of those fit in my stocking, I'd be heartily indebted to Old Saint Nick.
I'll settle for having windows that don't frost over.
On the INSIDE.
But the boys were enamored with the designs they found
this morning so I had to admit; they are pretty.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ode to Liam James

Mini's Martini
No, it's really a ginger trifle that I made for dessert when
we had friends over for dinner on Sunday.
Note the loyal yellow sippy cup in close proximity.

Poor Liam already has Middle Child Syndrome. He is so easy going, often submits to Colin's outrageous demands and is generally just a sweet, adorable little guy. Of course he also runs around like a whirling dervish, pouts for hours if I have the nerve to tell him no, and crosses his arms in indignant stubbornness at least a dozen times a day... but no one's perfect. Case in point, this week he has refused to drink out of anything but a YELLOW sippy cup and since we only have one, you might imagine the injustice he suffered tonight when I offered him purple instead.

Colin gets a lot of attention because he has oldest child "I'm the center of your universe" syndrome. He also doesn't nap anymore so he gets me one-on-one for at least 3 hours a day when the little boys are sleeping. Eamon gets a lot of face time here on the blog and at home too, mostly because he is so unbelievably jovial and just... edible all the time. There is a reason we call him "pumpkin pie" and "apple strudel"; he's just so sweet and his solid little chub demands to be squeezed and nibbled and photographed all the time. But Liam... whether from his lack of sedentary nature or the fact that his incredible language explosion is difficult to capture on film (er.. in jpeg formatting?) has gotten short shrift on here. So, today's post is for my Liam!

This past weekend we got invited to five (yes, five!) parties, all on Saturday. Chris took Colin to his company kids party (It was only for kids age 4+ and they needed a day alone to have some "manly" (rollerskating, ha!) fun. I'll leave it up to him to blog away about their incredibly action-packed day). I was on Liam and Eamon duty and we party-hopped to three consecutive fetes before we called it a night. (Hey, I DID say no to the fifth invite, and we were running so late, we all-but-missed the second party of the day too. I feel like I have to explain this to reduce my motherly guilt about over-scheduling my tots.) Much to his credit, as we staggered out of the last party of the day, Liam said to me with a bit of twinkly anticipation: "Mommy, we go to ANOTHER party now??". That's my soon-to-be pub-crawling boy!

"The Braun" tries to figure out that darn ball-popper. Success!

Anyway, it was so lovely to have some time to spend with Liam where he got to express himself without being strong-armed (hmm, strong-worded?) by Colin. And Eamon was a peach as usual so he hardly took away too much attention from "Little". Liam has taken a formal turn lately and only refers to his elder brother as "Colin Michael" and refers to himself as "James Arnold" (we don't know where the Liam went. Then again, we NEVER know why Liam does any of the things he does.) Conversations go like this: "Colin Michael, you no touch me!" "You being crabby, Colin Michael? Yeah, you CRABBY!" "You want to cook hot stuff with me, Colin Michael?" It's taken me a while to define it, but Liam's speech pattern is exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his early years here before he mastered English and became a politician. Prepositions are to be used only under duress and pronouns used interchangeably at the speaker's whim. It's damn cute though. In a 2 year old.

Liam got his VERY OWN present. A rarity and much appreciated by him especially since it was a new Mickey Mouse that he LOVES. (He's gotten so good at enunciating that he calls him "Mickey Mouse" now and not "Hot Dog" anymore... sob, he's growing up...)
A big thanks to Jenn for the photos of Party#1 AND for Mickey!

This week Liam has done a ton of painting including a very... brown... Christmas stocking-shaped coin bank. Everything Liam does ends up brown, or black. (To put this in perspective, Colin would DIE in a pool of liquid horror before he let his paint colors mix together). He also helped me wrap a lot of gifts for his cousins ("Mommy, me ASK Emme if me open her presents?" "No, Liam, you can't." "Mommy, Ryan cry if me open his presents?" "Yes, Liam, he will". And on it goes...). He also cut me to the quick this evening. While he was napping, Colin and I innocently painted some sun catchers from the Dollar Store as our daily naptime project. Many hours later, after Liam woke up, had dinner, and played, he saw the drying suncatchers. A very confused look came over his face and he came right up to me and said, "Mommy, you do THIS without me???". He summarily broke my heart at that moment and this Mommy vowed get my ass out in the foot or more of new-fallen snow tomorrow to buy replacements. He was instantly mollified and told his brother: "See, Colin Michael? Mommy buy more for ME tomorrow at Dollar Store!!" If only $1 and a little Mommy time would keep him this happy forever.

Liam's dark inner feelings about non-yellow sippy cups.
Expressed in a finger paint medium.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Festivities Continue Despite the Bitter Cold

Happy even at 17 degrees thanks to my Nanook of the North boots!

Three peas in a pod snuggling to stay warm!

Although we missed the Santa Parade (thankfully, as it was 20 degrees and windy out that day), we did get to have some fun at the Town Hall last weekend where they had a meet and greet with Santa and a very nicely-done Candy Land themed area for the kids. Anyplace that can get my kids to stand (still!) in line for an hour to see the portly gentleman who strikes fear into their hearts must be doing something right. Colin wouldn't sit on his lap, but Liam was very brave and told Santa (again) all about the bat he wants for Christmas. Colin only approached Santa at all because he was dying for the candy cane that Mrs. Claus was using to, albeit generously, bribe the tots. Hey, don't we teach our kids NOT to go with strangers who offer them candy? No wonder it's so freakishly confusing for them this time of year. The kids also scored some hot chocolate and cookies which topped off the day for them as a great success.

Liam tells his tale to Santa and the Missus.

Colin makes a gingerfriend.

A favorite stop on the Candy Land path.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

World Cultures, 101: Preschool-style

Thank God for the internet. Colin came home from school on Tuesday morning singing over and over again: "Dance the Hora, Dance the Hora". I immediately assumed that he'd just learned yet another "naughty word" from the other kids at school, but he soon clued me in--telling me all the interesting tidbits he learned about Hanukkah from Miss Linda. Prior to this my only knowledge of Hanukkah songs came from Adam Sandler. Though he made no mention of the Maccabees (this part, I actually knew!), he did know about the candles (as evidenced by his Menorah hat, above) and, not surprisingly, the gifts, and-- most joyous of all--the dreidel! Thanks to YouTube, we found a video of people actually dancing the Hora and he's been practicing ever since (it is a wonderfully active dance for kids and so much more fun than the squaredancing *I* learned in 10th grade gym class).

Then he told me all about the dreidel and again, thanks to the internet, we found a template to make one out of paper. And although we were short some gelt, we did find some fairly appropriate blue and white coins (from our poker set--is that blasphemy?) to use with it. If you've never played with a dreidel before, I truly believe it is a game made up by Jewish parents to keep their kids out of their hair while they enjoy socializing with other adults during the holidays--it's a long, long, neverendingly LONG game. But Colin was really excited about it (he even memorized the Hebrew letters so he could play by himself--thank Yahweh!) and that's good enough for me.

I'd better read up on Kwanzaa, I'm sure he'll be educating me about that next week...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holiday Spirit

We're starting early this year for us, but it's starting to feel festive! The big boys picked out their baby Christmas trees this week and now they'll get one ornament everyday until Christmas to add to them. I also went a bit berserk this year and put up 24 tiny stockings with a treat for each boy inside to get them through advent. But, getting Colin through the one day wait until December started proved to be the hardest part! They happily opened the first one this morning and from here on, I hope it runs smoothly!

The boys also picked tags at church from the giving tree and I am surprised at how much they seem to be really into it this year. They each chose a child that is the same age as them so they were truly "expert shoppers" at the toy store. Liam was so proud that he helped me wrap up the big trucks he chose that he actually ASKED me to take his picture with it. Well, that was back on Tuesday... now it's Saturday and the temptation proved to be TOO GREAT and he finally dug in and opened that darn present this morning! He ALMOST made it until tomorrow when we'll drop it off at the church, but not QUITE. Tonight I will rewrap... after Liam is in bed!